The Netherlands and Denmark: F-16 fighter jets for Kyiv

Denmark and the Netherlands plan to deliver F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has announced the delivery of 19 aircraft in total by the end of 2026, including six this year, while Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said deliveries will take place as soon as possible without naming concrete figures. What does Ukraine stand to gain from the pledges?

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Strana (UA) /

Mainly a way of upping the pressure

Strana wonders what effect the fighter jets can have if they're only delivered in a year's time:

“The fact that the US has approved the re-export of its fighter jets to Ukraine is undoubtedly a landmark decision. ... On the other hand, the pilot training has not yet even begun (at least that's what's said officially), and the US itself has authorised the handover of the jets only once the courses have been completed. That will take about a year. ... No doubt the West is seeking to push the Kremlin to end the war this way, intimating that Russia could face a whole different level of armament in Ukraine in 2024.”

Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

No end in sight

The F16s won't be a gamechanger, the Frankfurter Rundschau laments:

“Especially since they won't be ready to go into operation for another six months, after the personnel have been trained. ... But the planes will help the Ukrainian army to fend off one or two Russian assaults and to launch one or two attacks of their own. Ukraine's Western allies are signalling to Kyiv, Russia and their own people that they continue to support the government of Volodymyr Zelensky. But the bitter truth is that people continue to die because of the Russian invasion. The 500,000 dead and injured on both sides so far will not be the last.”

NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

Successful salami tactics

Washington's okay was decisive for the decision, NRC stresses:

“Although US President Joe Biden expresses his unconditional support for Kyiv at every possible opportunity, the White House is operating extremely cautiously to avoid a direct confrontation with Russia. ... It all fits in with the successful salami tactics the White House has been employing since the start of the war. Although Moscow reacts angrily to every new delivery, so far there have been no concrete retaliatory measures by the Kremlin. Now another 'red line' has been crossed at Eindhoven military airport. And although it is clear that the delivery is now a fact, Rutte and Zelensky were very vague about the details.”